Hertfordshire Local Plan Watch - Autumn 2022

06.10.22 2 MINUTE READ

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A Tale of two halves very much still across Hertfordshire this Autumn; with the leaves still refusing to change it seems in the South-West of the County. As always, the ‘political’ role of the Green Belt continues to dominate events and stagnate growth, future, past and present without an ‘Investment Zone’ in sight!

Let’s start with a positive shall we, North Hertfordshire appear to be on the brink of their first up to date Development Plan since 1996, praise indeed! Notwithstanding, it’s immediate review to begin within a year.

As for the tumultuous examination of Welwyn Hatfield, when will it end? Dare I say it, but things have gone from the absurd to the ridiculous. In my opinion there would be some poetic justice if it does reach the conclusion of adoption, as currently set out.

I really don’t wish to dwell any further on the specific delays elsewhere amongst the ongoing uncertainty of planning reforms, as it’s all becoming a bit tedious, isn’t it?

As such, following the demise of Spatial Plans elsewhere (Arc/Oxford) there might just be a silver lining in the autumnal clouds over South-West Hertfordshire.

There is a now a live consultation document ‘Realising the Potential’ on the South-West Joint Spatial Plan, with comments due by the 4th November 2022. The purpose of which to lead to intended draft visions and objectives for the spatial area up to 2050.

The document forms a Part 1 draft ‘Issues and Options’ equivalent, setting out broad themes with the intended audience appearing to be more focused toward residents rather than the wider ‘needs’. Similarly, the content seems suitably vague in the questions in poses and it’s difficult to gauge how responses will inform the key strategic policy matters engrained within the Statement of Common Ground.

Notwithstanding the progress of Watford, one wonders whether the delay of the constituent members own Development Plans is the defining factor in the lack of depth of the consultation. Nevertheless, the consultation provides an opportunity for representations to influence the spatial distribution of growth, which could be honed through each of the Authorities own emerging Plans in time.

In summary for those not already emotionally engrained in strategic land opportunities in one of the many stalled plans/examinations, the obvious opportunities lay with the immediate review for North Herts. Beyond this, it is much a guessing game on any certainty over planning reforms as to who will move to review their adopted plans or progress with their emerging programmes.

Housing Land Supply

As reported back in the Spring last year’s Housing Delivery Test results indicated 6 out of the 10 Districts in the Country identified as ‘Presumption in Favour’ Authorities (less than 75% of their housing requirement). We’ve since seen several allowed appeals where housing need was pivotal, including notable schemes in recent months in Stevenage and Welwyn Hatfield.


For detail on emerging Local Plan position in Hertfordshire please click on the map below.

Our Planning team


Mike Jones

Partner, Planning

Mike is a Chartered Town Planner with 19+ years’ experience and knowledge across an array of sectors.

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Local Plan Watch - Autumn 2022

Our Local Plan Watch provides an update on the progress of the Local Plans coming forward across our region to allocate new land for development and highlights the key opportunities for landowners, promoters and developers. 

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